Thursday, February 15th, 2018
Celebrate Washington Beer Open House in Whatcom County
Brandon Fralic

Wouldn’t it be fun if — just for a day — you could waltz into just about any brewery in town and take a tour? Maybe sample some seasonal or barrel-aged brews? And why not go so far as to meet the brewers themselves? Thanks to the Washington Beer Commission and several local breweries, you can. This year’s event will be held Saturday, February 24, 2018, from noon – 5:00 p.m. Here’s the scoop on where to celebrate in Bellingham and Whatcom County. 

Aslan Brewer Frank Trosset. Photo: Washington Beer

Every year in February, breweries across the state open their doors for a single afternoon of tours and tastings known as the Washington Beer Open House. Some 130+ breweries participate statewide. With numbers like that, beer lovers may find it nearly impossible to choose where to spend the day. I’m here to offer  suggestions.

Here in Bellingham, the majority of our local breweries are participating in 2018. Nine out of 14 breweries countywide will host free tours during Washington Beer Open House. That’s nine opportunities to tour, sample, and meet the wonderful people behind our award-winning breweries — all for free. Not to mention the free parking and close proximity of Bellingham breweries — many are within walking distance of each other.

 

Aslan Brewing Co.

Aslan’s own Frank Trosset will be on hand to answer any burning questions you may have about Batch 15 — or any other Aslan brew. Frank is a stand-up guy, so be sure to take this opportunity to say hello. And while you’re at it, mosey on down to the brand new Aslan Depot for a drink at one of the classiest taprooms in town.

From the brewery:

“Self-guided tours with one of our owners and head brewer Frank Trosset available to answer any questions you might have! Check out our newly upgraded brewhouse, and take home an exclusive Aslan Brew Process sheet.”

Atwood Ales Farm Brewery

Remember when I wrote that Atwood Ales Farm Brewery is not open to the public? That’s still generally true. However, the good folks at Atwood are willing to make an exception for Washington Beer Open House. If you’ve ever wanted to tour their family farm in Blaine, this is your chance!

This brewery isn’t typically open to the public, as they are a production brewery only that distributes throughout the county. But for this special occasion, they will be open for three tour slots at 12 p.m., 2 p.m (already filled up) and 4 p.m., limited to 20 people per tour. Learn more and sign up for a tour here. 

From the brewery:

“We will be providing tours at 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm. We will offer a tasting of what is currently available, touring through the brewery and the farm as well as offering bottle sales. We are excited for the opportunity of folks to come by and see what we are all about here at Atwood Ales Farm Brewery.”

Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro

Bellingham’s oldest brewery never disappoints when it comes to events, and Open House is no exception. Last year I found myself in Boundary’s lofty Mountain Room post-tour, tasting brews from their barrel-aged lineup while snacking on complimentary appetizers. And though I can’t guarantee the same treatment this year, there’s only one way to find out…

Chuckanut Brewery

Few brewing systems in the state are as dialed-in as Chuckanut’s high tech Bellingham brewhouse. See it for yourself, meet the brewers, and raise a glass to some of the finest lagers in all the land at “North Nut”.

From the brewery:

“We will be open noon to 3 pm at both Chuckanut Breweries, South Nut Tap Room in Burlington and North Nut Kitchen in Bellingham. Free tours will be held at 12 noon and 1:30 pm at North and South Nuts. All ages are welcome at both sites, we are arranging a Food Truck at South Nut and our Kitchen will be serving food starting at 11 am in Bellingham. Join us to meet the brewers and learn more about award-winning Chuckanut beers!”

Illuminati Brewing Company

Bellingham’s uniquely co-licensed brewery/winery will release their very first barrel-aged beer during Open House — a scotch ale aged in Highland Scotch Whisky barrels. If you haven’t checked out Bellingham’s newest brewery yet, this will be an excellent time to do so.

From the brewery:

“Tours of brewery/winery facility at noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm. The release of our first barrel-aged beer, “Hammer of the Gods” Scotch Ale aged in Highland Scotch Whisky barrels.”

Kulshan Brewing Company

Kulshan operates two breweries in Bellingham: Sunnyland (2238 James Street) and Roosevelt (1538 Kentucky Street, also known as K2). At Sunnyland, brewer Sam Milne runs the show. I met Sam during his Open House tour last year, where he was more than happy to show our tour group around and answer questions about Kulshan’s small-batch process. Over at K2, tours focus on the larger scale production facility.

From the brewery:

“Get to know the Kulshan Krew, our brewers, and our beer! Both taprooms, Sunnyland and Roosevelt, will have beer tastings, food, games, giveaways, and brewery tours. Learn about small-batch beers at our Sunnyland location and canning and production at our Roosevelt location.”

Stones Throw Brewing

If you’ve ever wanted to know why Fairhaven’s only brewery is built out of shipping containers, this is your chance to find out. Hourly tours led by Stones Throw owners will delve into the brewery’s history, with tastes from the brew tanks available for purchase.

From the brewery:

“Stones Throw Brewery owners, Jack Pflueger & Tony Luciano, will be taking beer lovers on free tours (12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm, 5 pm) around their unique brewery which has been built in shipping containers. They will tell the story of the disreputable history of the property, the sustainable building process & of course how they make their beer. Tours will end with tastes straight from the tanks for those who purchased $2 tasters. Family-friendly, dog-friendly.”

Wander Brewing

Wander is hosting a special “Barrel Den tour” at 2 pm. That’s all I need to know to make this event a priority. Wander’s extensive barrel program is highly regarded, earning awards at the national and international levels. As an added bonus, their massive warehouse space is just plain cool to wander into.

Also, see our Beer page for more posts about Bellingham Craft Beer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author:

Freelance writer Brandon Fralic has called Bellingham home since 2006. He writes about the outdoors, travel, and craft beer for a variety of regional publications. Brandon co-founded Beers at the Bottom in 2013 to highlight Pacific Northwest trails and ales. His first book, Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest, was released in 2018.